This commendation comes from German athletic expert, Dr. Uwe Freimuth, after four months of working with the athletes.
Dr. Uwe Freimuth.
After four months of working in Vietnam, how do you feel about the track-and field team?
Within my four months in Vietnam, I have sent three reports about the situation of Vietnam’s athletes to Germany. Firstly, I have to say that the technical level and the understanding of Vietnamese track-and-field athletes are far behind their colleagues in the world.
In terms of technique, they are equipped with little knowledge about sports science, athletic science and their academic standard is very limited. The team of coaches is not highly qualified. Vietnam’s athletics are seriously short of technical facilities such as healthcare rooms for athletes and equipment.
In such conditions, the athletes still practice very hard and diligently. I feel they are like heroes who surpass many difficulties and challenges.
What are the problems of Vietnam’s track-and-field?
The most important thing is renovating the Vietnam Athletics Federation. If the federation only has 3.5 employees (it has four employees, but one works for both the federation and the General Department of Sports and Physical Training) and operates in its current poor conditions, it is very difficult to develop scientific programs and goals and then realize them effectively.
How do you prepare for Vietnam’s goal to win gold at the Asian Games 2010?
The first is making a practice schedule for key athletes, including Vu Thi Huong and Truong Thanh Hang. This will begin in mid-March in a two-week training program in Da Lat. My teaching program will take place from mid-March to December 2010 (before the Asian Games). After the course in Da Lat, my training plan will be transferred to Coach Nguyen Dinh Minh.
After that, Hang and Huong will practice for the European Track and Field Tournament in Germany in July. Only in big competitions can athletes know where they are and what they have to do because, in Southeast Asia, they seem to have no barrier. The two girls will then stay in Germany from 18-20 days for training. In August and September, Hang will return to Kunming (China) and Huong to Singapore for further training.
What are the chances for Huong and Hang at the Asian Games 2010?
If Huong can finish 100m with 11’’20 seconds, she will be able to win the women’s 100m gold medal. Hang has to finish 800m within 1.59 minutes. I don’t think Hang will be able to win gold and I can’t confirm that Huong has a chance for gold because it depends on many factors, even when Huong seriously follows my instructions.
Do you have any plan to help Vietnamese coaches in the future?
In the future, I will bring two coaches to Germany for training and one of them is Nguyen Dinh Minh. I will invite some German coaches to Vietnam to train Vietnamese coaches.
The German Athletics Federation has up to 5-6 million Euros a year and 30-40 sponsors, while its Vietnamese counterpart earns only $60,000-70,000 a year. Do you believe that your plan to train Vietnam’s athletes over the next four years will be successful?
Vietnam’s track-and-field team should not wait for sponsors. They must gradually walk on their own two feet. I came to help Vietnam build and implement that plan and I believe that Vietnam can do it.
Dr. Uwe Freimuth, 49, is a four-time men’s decathlon champion in Germany in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988. He earned 7860 points at the 1988 Olympics in South Korea.
He has been working as sports school lecturer since he said goodbye to his athletic career. He has trained many coaches and athletes for Germany and other countries. In 1999, he coached Malaysia’s high-jump and decathlon team. In 2002, he successfully defended his thesis in sports science.
He comes to Vietnam under an agreement between the German Olympic Association and the Vietnamese sports sector. His mission is not only assisting Vietnam to reach its goal of winning gold at the Asian Games 2010 in China and to have athletes meet the conditions for the 2012 Olympics London, but also helping Vietnam’s track-and-field team to stand firmly on their feet.
Every four months, he sends a report to the German Athletics Federation to detail his job in Vietnam and the status of Vietnam’s track-and-field team to campaign the German Olympic Association to increase its assistance for Vietnam.